Last month we hosted a webinar where our CEO Bob Graham discussed Hotel Recovery Strategies to Ensure Commercial Success For Your Hotel with Hotel Tech Report Co-Founder and CEO Jordan Hollander and IDeaS Chief Evangelist Klaus Kohlmayr.
The panelists shared strategies for reassessing your current market segments, tips to differentiate yourself from you compset, and the importance of partnership.
Here are some of our biggest takeaways:
1 – Understand Your New Demographics
The hospitality industry is currently navigating through a new landscape. These changes may not be permanent, but past strategies are not necessarily going to work as we head down the road to recovery. So, what should hotels be doing when revisiting their current strategy and looking at market segments, demand, and their competition?
Kohlmayer believes that hotels are going to have to get more granular with their market segments than ever before. “People need to understand what’s changed. Who are their competitors now? Which ones are different than before which ones are still around? How have my market segments changed? It’s much more micro segment than before. It’s not just leisure demand, but within the leisure demand, there are micro movements that are happening.”
How do you find these segments?
Most markets are still experiencing government regulations on travel meaning your 2019 segment data won’t be accurate. If you’re in one of these areas, your short term strategy should include investing in your local travel market.
If you haven’t already, connect with your DMO or CVB and find out what trends they’re seeing in your area. I know the initial knee jerk reaction is to lower rates to increase demand but history has taught us that this is a short-term solution. Companies like KNOWLAND give you current travel insights so you can better understand your new travel segments.
How do you capture these segments?
Once you understand those market segments, you will want to come up with a marketing strategy to convert these leads into bookings. Hollander suggests looking into unique marketplaces like meta-search bidding or TripAdvisors new subscription program. Having more online visibility gives you the ability to target any potential guests that aren’t in your CRM.
2- Differentiate Yourself From The Rest
Your compset has completely changed from the one you had in 2019. Select service hotels are competing with resort hotels for the same guests. You need to create a differentiator strategy to ensure that you win those deals. But How?
Bob recommends trying to create value add experiences. Look at ancillary revenue that you can market and optimize. You should ask yourself: “What makes you different?” Does your property have an amazing spa or beautiful restaurant that you can use as a selling feature?
If you don’t have the ability to differentiate yourself through your property’s offerings, try teaming up with surrounding local businesses. We’re seeing this in British Columbia’s own backyard – local wineries and hotels are working together to create unique experiences like waterfront dome dining and once in a lifetime private chef dinners.
3 – Have A Short Term Strategy And A Long Term Strategy
Redefining your current market segments and differentiating yourself from a larger comp set are two short term strategies to survive the road to recovery. All three panelists believe travel will return to normal. We just don’t know when. You will need both a short term strategy that you should be consistently reviewing monthly and a long term strategy so you’re not missing out on any potential deals.
This means you need to start prospecting for business now.
People assume that business travel is gone and dead but according to Graham, that’s not the case. Bob explains that he “asked [his] neighbour where he was going today and he told me that he was meeting at a hotel through the union. I was curious if this was a rare occurrence and he said it wasn’t. That there are only a few of them but they’re always going.”
It’s easy to live under the Eeyore cloud that COVID has put on the industry. But there is hope and you won’t close any sales deals if you don’t start looking for them. If you’re able to hunt for business at a consistent cadence, you will start to unlock opportunities.
Graham’s already seeing it work on LinkedIn “People from Interstate and Aimbridge posting, “Hey, I closed this deal and I took it from a competitor.” The best groups are already out doing [prospecting]. Other hotels should follow suit and be more proactive.”
The panelists also discussed strategies for building a comprehensive tech stack to ensure optimal performance at their property, the impact of COVID on their businesses and how they were able to pivot, and the importance of partnership in hospitality. Watch the whole webinar here.